Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 1–8 | Cite as

Utilization on extrafloral nectaries and fruit domatia of Canavalia lineata and C. cathartica (Leguminosae) by ants

  • Asuka YamashiroEmail author
  • Tadashi Yamashiro
Original Paper


Utilization of the extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) and fruits of Canavalia lineata and C. cathartica by ants was investigated at 30 sites in Japan. The fruits of C. lineata and C. cathartica were inhabited by five and eight ant species, respectively. Ant nesting periods and their utilization of EFNs differed between C. lineata and C. cathartica. Canavalia lineata flowers once a year, and periods of EFN-utilization and fruit-nesting by ants do not overlap. The fruit-nesting ants on C. lineata seem to invade the plant from the holes made by moth larvae or breaches made by decay. The ants nesting on the fruits of C. lineata may defend the plant against seed herbivores because they feed on moth larvae. Canavalia cathartica flowers several times over a year, and fruits are found throughout the year; therefore, periods of EFN-utilization and fruit-nesting by ants are overlapped. Canavalia cathartica offers year-round nesting sites and food for ants, and therefore may receive a higher defensive effect from ants than C. lineata.


Canavalia cathartica Canavalia lineata Domatia EFNs Fruit Nest Plant–ant interaction 



The authors are grateful to Drs. Y. Tateishi and M. Maki for their useful comments. This work was partly supported by the grant from Sasagawa Science foundation to AY.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Advanced Technology and ScienceThe University of TokushimaTokushimaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Integrated Arts and SciencesThe University of TokushimaTokushimaJapan

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